Welcome back to part two of our NPW power trip! This month we’re taking a curiouser and curiouser look at our power: how we can build it up, whether it’s ever possible for us to truly own it for ourselves and – most importantly – what it means to be the guardians of our own power.
If you didn’t catch last week’s blog and want to settle into the groove, pop back and catch up. There’s an exercise at the end to help you think about what it feels like to be tapped into your power.
This week is about charge. How much power do we need? How much do we want? How do we find it? Also, if there is too much for us to take, how can we safely offload?
Lots of good material is available in the self-help and wellness space to help us understand our energy, and it’s something that comes up a lot here on the blog too. Understanding what charges or drains your batteries can help you get through a rough patch or level you up.
The same goes for power, except it’s a bit of a tricksy mistress. We can be handed power (most often when someone else doesn’t want it) – decisions, getting a team through a difficult situation, delivering a knotty piece of work – or manifest our own power.
On the first, it really does come down to energy, how we choose to react, and how we flex the muscle of the power that has been handed to us.
The second is where we can get curiouser. The power we own and can choose to exercise – or not – is scary and, let’s be honest, is not always what we want to find when we’re in a position to use it!
Whatever your go-to adventure epic, you’ll find a hero who needed a bit of persuasion. Vampire slayers, hobbits, Weasleys, even the odd Greyjoy and Stark found themselves at a loss to understand how they had the capacity for power that the world seemed to require of them.
Our cue to tap into power is what the world asks of us on a given day. It could be it doing the food shop when the sixth episode of Queer Eye is about to auto-play or leading a big pitch for your boss. Either way, we have the choice of tapping into our power to get that sh*t done.
When we’re faced with these challenges, we probably get a loud report of our battery level from the bottommost part of our gut. When you hear this, sense check it. Is it true that you don’t feel energetic? None of us is a machine. We are complicated creatures and sometimes it doesn’t add up. Take depression or chronic pain, for instance, those little ******s (insert your own angry word here).
What happens if we go beyond the energy equation and think about our power? If energy is GCSE levels of savvy self-mastery, power is the first year of Uni.
(At this point I have to apologise to all my past physics and maths teachers because I know there are equations about power and energy, and they aren’t helping this whole self-mastery metaphor, so we’re ignoring them for now.)
To tap into or say no to using our power we need to take a beat to think not just about what we want the outcome to be, but how we want it to happen. Through our power, we can give more of our energy to others, or invite others to join us and add their energy to a common goal.
We can also take this the other way round. When a challenge calls and our insides shout a great big “go for it, we got juice!”, it’s game on. Go find something and lob yourself at it. Make the most of your power! It’s also a great day to pay attention: what has made everything click into place on those days?
Homework: Make a list of three times this week you used your power, and three times you chose to say no. It’s helpful to note that saying no is not a bad thing. Being more mindful of when and how you’re using what nature gave you is the key to doing more of what gets you the results you’d like to see.
Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing.
Claire writes a weekly blog, Self Curious, on NPW’s website.